The story behind the Oriental carpet

Colouring every single paver

Rixt Hofman was originally a landscape architect. She is a green and public space policy adviser to the municipality of Beverwijk. She designed the Oriental rug. Colleague Rob Stapersma is the project manager. From start till finish, Rixt and Rob were involved in the fulfilment of this particular undertaking, which began as a sub project of a larger plan to transform the furniture shopping promenade.

New hotspot for Beverwijk

“The Area Vision Parallelweg Mix & Match was created to revitalise the municipality's furniture shopping promenade”, Rob explains. “By renovating the outside space, we would be giving the area an impetus. ‘De Kop van de Haven’, as this area is called, needs to become a proper hotspot. A great place to linger, not a collection of parking spaces as it was before. The area also has a beautiful waterfront location, and has excellent links to the centre of Beverwijk.”

A square with playful elements

To decide on the layout of the public space, all the retailers along the furniture shopping promenade were asked to come together. Rixt explains what they had in mind: “Robust, bold and with some playful elements, those were the terms I used to get the work under way. And soon I had the idea of creating an Oriental rug. This, of course, not only refers to the rugs available here, but also to De Bazaar – the largest covered market in Europe – which is right around the corner. We then adapted the layout of the public space. By using huge twilight lamps, flower pots and the rug, it has been made to look like a living room. All in all, it has plenty of playful elements!”

Colouring every single brick

The design process was an unusual one, according to Rixt. “I went online to look for Oriental rugs. In the end, I found a rug online and edited the colours on my computer to make them really stand out. I then placed a grid over it to represent the bricks, and coloured each brick by hand. A great job! The design did present some challenges. For example, during the design phase I thought I would use pavers in a cobbled format. Ultimately, we decided on a large format paver.”

“After transferring my pattern into a large format technical drawing, the carpet became approximately one third shorter. And that did not look good. The contractor then had to think hard to find a way of fitting it in, but he managed it, eventually. I think that was very clever! I used four colours for the pattern: yellow, brown, red and purple. That was a condition I set myself, as otherwise it would be almost impossible to pave. The purple bricks indicate the borders of the pattern.” The result speaks for itself. It's not just Rixt and Rob who are of that opinion. Retailers and visitors are also pleasantly surprised by this extraordinary square.

Professional collaboration for the best results

As a project manager, Rob was responsible for the project’s smooth progress. And that's quite a job, given the nature of the design. In retrospect he’s pleased with the process and the contractor’s work procedure. “The contractor carried out the work very skilfully. It was a real headache. Because pavers are a natural product, there will always be some minor size variations in a batch.”

"When you set out to pave a square of this particular width and in this pattern, the patterns can appear to distort when looking at them from above. That’s not very attractive. To avoid this, the street builders laid out string to correspond to the specific patterns of the carpet. They then positioned the pavers along the string lines. The red pavers, which covered the largest area, were then cut. This ensured that the patterns were aligned perfectly. It all involved a huge amount of work, which is why it took all three of us to complete the job. One person read the drawing, another indicated the correct colour, and the third placed the bricks.”

Find the flaw!

Rixt reveals another secret to visitors: “Oriental rugs always contain a flaw in the weave. And so does our paved rug. I'm not saying exactly where. You must find it for yourself. Originally, the contractor removed the ‘flaw’. But that wasn't the intention! So, we had the flaw put back into the rug. It's up to the visitors to find where the flaw is.”

A quiet space in the neighbourhood

“The whole area underwent a major transformation,” says a satisfied Rob. “The new marina attracts more tourism. We have also installed attractive benches and more parking spaces. The playfulness of the rug, together with the view and the high-quality greenery has created an amazing public space. We hope that more retailers will recognize the square's potential. It offers plenty of opportunities for activities and events. And, adding some terraces would create even more atmosphere in the area. As a pleasurable experience, it has already become a space for relaxation for visitors to the furniture shopping promenade. To recover from a day's shopping, perfect, don’t you think?"

Project information

Client: Beverwijk Municipality
Design: Beverwijk Municipality, Rixt Hofman
Contractor: Germieco
Colours: Terra Marrone, Terra Robina, Terra Romana, Terra Fiore
Size: Large format

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